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Backpacker Magazine – March 2011

Rip & Go: Goldmyer Hot Springs - Snoqualmie NF, WA

Track beneath waterfalls and icicle-hung trees to a soothing soak.

by: Nathan Barnes and Jeremy Barnes

Goldmyer Hot Spring (
Goldmyer Hot Spring (
Tin Cup Joe Falls (
Tin Cup Joe Falls (

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Need a restorative winter warmer? Hike 11 miles along the icy banks of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River to a natural hot spring just 35 miles from Seattle. During winter, the lone access road becomes impassable; it’s foot travel only, but you’ll still need reservations (see Trip Planner) to secure one of just 20 daily permits. From the parking lot (1) off Middle Fork Road, take the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trail #1003 across the Gateway Bridge (2) and follow the main track left. At .8 mile, reach a side trail (3) leading to the granite backbone of Stegosaurus Butte. Follow the river, then climb through a recent landslide (4) that toppled the Douglas firs and exposed a view of 5,519-foot Mt. Garfield.

At 4.5 miles, reach Cripple Creek (5) and a roaring 20-foot cascade set against a granite backdrop. Turn uphill here for a one-mile side trip to Tin Cup Joe Falls. Hike another mile to the Dingford Creek junction (6). During spring snowmelt (April to May), the Thunder Creek ford, three miles ahead, can be impassable. Scout Dingford Creek to help anticipate Thunder Creek’s flow (see next page). If Dingford’s raging, take the left spur to Dingford Road and follow the forest road four miles to Goldmyer. Otherwise, continue toward Wildcat Creek (7) and Rock Creek (8), both spanned by wooden bridges.

At 8.1 miles, veer right at the Y-junction (9). You’ll soon pass the intersection with the Rock Creek Trail #1013.3 (10), which leads to Snow Lake and Snoqualmie Pass. Stay on #1003 to Thunder Creek (11), where two 10-foot falls emit a low roar. Cross the stream if the torrent is passable, then continue to Burntboot Creek (12) and the fallen logs that provide access to Goldmyer Hot Springs. The springs are staffed by caretakers for Northwest Wilderness Programs, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to wilderness preservation; check in (13), and camp along the river. Then hit the pools (14), which seat one to four, and range from 100°F to 120°F.

Trip Planner

Get there From Seattle, take exit 34 off I-90 east, then a left on 468th Ave. Drive 1.5 miles to SE Middle Fork Rd. Follow it 11 miles to the Middle Fork trailhead.

Gear up
REI, 735 Northwest Gilman Blvd., Issaquah, WA. (425) 313-1660;

Permit Northwest Forest Pass required ($30/year). (800) 270-7504; r6/passespermits

Reservations Access is $15/ day per person. Call 90 days ahead. (206) 789-5631;

Trip data

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Mar 28, 2013

Oh, Goldmyer, you magical place of mystery and power. I have loved you with passion for 15 years, and get excited to share you with any friend who needs the restoration you provide. Now I shed a tear for the secret that breaths. Hypocritical in the extreme, and only a symptom of my jealousy of your love. My respect is boundless, as is your worthiness!

Oct 14, 2012

awesome ya you rock totally.
The last thing Goldmeyer needs is more people you fuckin' parasites.

Helen Ratford
Apr 18, 2011

The ingitients of the food looks good. And some of the recipes I tried is really good but listen to this... I have 3 kids. 2 daughters, and 1 son all including myself have done the Wonderland Trail,Mt. Rainier National Park. We did it in sections. My kids enjoy the food! Even though it has vegtables in it! They don't seem to notice the vegtables at all.Which is wonderful.Anyways thanks.Bye.


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